Chase Irle’s Prediction
After last week’s disappointing loss to the Saints, there is essentially nothing left to play for except for pride heading into a Week 14 matchup with the 3-9 Chargers. Perhaps the most important thing on the line is draft position; however, hopefully, neither side is approaching this game with that mindset. Developing a winning culture should always come first, even when the games are meaningless.
During the Dan Quinn era — for whatever reason — the Falcons were awful against AFC opponents. That changed, however, once he was fired and replaced by Raheem Morris. Atlanta has had no problem with the Broncos and Raiders, respectively, this season. Although both of those matchups came at home. This one is on the road in Los Angeles against a Chargers team that is coming off an embarrassing 45-0 loss to the Patriots. You can bet they should be focused this week, and I think that added edge plays in their favor against a team coming off a demoralizing loss to their arch-rival. Chargers win a close one.
Falcons 27, Chargers 28
Jake Gordon’s Prediction
I actually have the same score as Chase, but I believe the Falcons are the team that comes out on top. These are two organizations that have been plagued by fourth-quarter collapses in recent years, so it only seems fitting that this game comes down to the final drive. I predict the Chargers will enter the fourth quarter with a 13-point lead, but the Falcons defense holds strong down the stretch, and Matt Ryan delivers two fourth-quarter touchdown drives to give Atlanta their fifth win of the season.
Falcons 28, Chargers 27
Alex Lord’s Prediction
This is an exciting game against the Chargers for two reasons. 1) Recently, both of these teams have been notoriously susceptible to blow large leads, and 2) both defenses love giving up big plays. The Falcons have lost games leading by 20 and 17 points to the Cowboys and Bears, respectively. While the Chargers have lost games leading by 21, 17 (twice), and 11 points to the Broncos, Saints, Buccaneers, and Chiefs, respectively. Both defenses are vulnerable to giving up explosive plays but in different ways. Atlanta has surrendered the most explosive pass plays in the NFL through 13 weeks. While the Chargers have yielded the fourth most explosive runs in the NFL.
You can expect an extremely volatile and entertaining game. But I expect the fire of Raheem Morris to provide a spark for this defense. It will be a shootout, but I think the defense with a “bend don’t break” mindset ends a late game-winning effort by Justin Herbert.
Falcons 30, Chargers 24